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Summary

From the author of Leviathan, or, The Whale, comes a composite portrait of the subtle, beautiful, inspired and demented ways in which we have come to terms with our watery planet.

In the third of his watery books, the author goes in pursuit of human and animal stories of the sea. Of people enchanted or driven to despair by the water, accompanied by whales and birds and seals - familiar spirits swimming and flying with the author on his meandering odyssey from suburbia into the unknown.

Along the way he encounters drowned poets and eccentric artists, modernist writers and era-defining performers, wild utopians and national heroes - famous or infamous, they are all surprisingly, and sometimes fatally, linked to the sea.

Out of the storm clouds of the 21st century and our restive time, these stories reach back into the past and forward into the future. This is a shape-shifting world that has never been certain, caught between the natural and unnatural, where the state between human and animal is blurred. Time, space, gender and species become as fluid as the sea.

Here humans challenge their landbound lives through art or words or performance or myth, through the animal and the elemental. And here they are forever drawn back to the water, forever lost and found on the infinite sea.

©2017 Philip Hoare (P)2017 HarperCollins Publisher Limited

Critic reviews

Praise for Philip Hoare:
"As bracing as a great blustery lungful of ozone-filled air... His passionate engagement will infect you. As you close this book, you will probably feel as ecstatic as the author does after one of his cold morning dips." (Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times)
"A beautifully written mixture of travelogue and essay.... Hoare has invented a new genre: an elegy for something not yet lost." (David Evans, The Independent on Sunday)
"A passionate, wonderfully engaging book.... His oceanic pursuit of the most remarkable animals on the planet has produced two books of the utmost interest." (Christopher Hirst, The Independent)
"Everything he writes is remarkably interesting, and always expressed in his singular prose, at the one and the same time both exact and numinous.... Packed full of strange delights - perhaps a bit of a ragbag, but what rags! And what a bag!" (Craig Brown, The Mail on Sunday)

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